Many plant enthusiasts are drawn to foliage plants, like caladium and colocasia, as a relatively easy maintenance way to add a pop of color and texture to indoor or outdoor gardens. However, caladium vs colocasia is often mistaken for each other not only because they belong to the same family, but also because of their similar-looking foliage. It can be tricky at first to tell them apart, but once you know the key points, you can separate these two gorgeous plants like a pro!
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General Plant Information
Common Name(s): Angel wings, elephant’s ear, the heart of Jesus
Scientific Name: Caladium
Country of Origin: Central and Northern America
Size: About 1 to 2.5 feet (0.3 to 0.76 meters) tall
Toxicity Level: This plant is toxic for humans and pets
Color(s): Shades of green, pink, magenta, red, deep dark burgundy, white, yellow
Flower Shape: Arum-like flowers with a pale yellow spadix and spathe
Common Name(s): Taro plant, elephant’s ear, dasheen, cocoyam plant
Scientific Name: Colocasia
Country of Origin: Tropical and subtropical regions of Asia
Size: 6.5 feet (2 meters) tall
Toxicity Level: This plant is toxic for humans and pets
Color(s): Shades of green, black, variegated white
Flower Shape: Arum-like flowers with greenish-yellow, yellowish-orange, or pale yellow spadix and spathe
What’s Unique About Caladium and Colocasia?
Caladiums are more notable for their foliage, which comes in a wide variety of color patterns. They naturally go dormant when the temperature drops, usually during winter. Colocasias, on the other hand, are not only favored for their massive foliage and ornamental value, but also for their edibility. Although naturally a poisonous plant, colocasia can be eaten but must be cooked first. Colocasia contains numerous vitamins, fibers, and carbohydrates.
Caladium vs Colocasia: Size and Color Pattern
When it comes to size, colocasia wins the nickname as the massive aroid, as on average, they can thrive up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) tall or even a little bit more if given more space to grow. The enormous Colocasia gigantea or Thailand giant, for example, thrives even hugely as an outdoor houseplant, where they can reach a 9.8 feet (3 meters) mark in height.
Furthermore, caladium is far more compact, averaging only about 2.5 feet (0.76 meters) tall, but blessed with more color and pattern variations. Caladium is perfect for those who are looking for cheerful and colorful houseplants. They can be milky white with dark green edges and striking magenta veins, or nearly fully white with dark green edges and veins. Meanwhile, colocasia has more limited color options, where they only grow in shades of green, black or deep dark purple, or variegated white.
When comparing the size and color pattern of caladium vs colocasia to help you decide which one to grow is fairly easy. If you’d like plants with vivid, bright colors, go with caladiums. If size matters more, then colocasia is more suitable for you.
Caladium vs Colocasia: Growing Requirements
Both caladium and colocasia are fond of warm-temperature since they come from tropical and subtropical regions of America and Asia. Caladium can thrive from zones 9 through 11, while colocasia has broader growing zones, that is from zones 8 through 12. As a result of their native range, both plants need bright but indirect light to thrive, thus making them a great addition to those shady areas in your nursery.
Caladium loves being in moist soil but never lets the soil be too soaked, which this plant hates. Colocasia, on the contrary, also loves to be in constant moisture but they’re more forgiving in growing challenges like wet soil. Both plants need medium watering, where the general rule is to wait until all the excess water has drained out of the pot before starting watering again. Give caladium and colocasia water when the first 2 inches (5 centimeters) of the topsoil feels dry, and water directly to the soil, not from the upper part, if possible.
It’s crucial to note that caladium and colocasia prefer high levels of humidity to thrive, where the ideal humidity levels for both plants need to be in the 60% to 80% mark. Along with humidity, make sure to keep the day temperature for both plants between 70°F (21°C) to 85°F (29°C). The ideal night temperature for caladium and colocasia is between 60°F (15°C) to 70°F (21°C). Caladium vs colocasia is not different when it comes to their temperature and humidity needs.
Caladium vs Colocasia: Soil Mix
Using the proper soil or potting mix is predominant for all plants, including caladium and colocasia. For best growth, caladium needs to be in well-draining, moist soil with high organic matter and a slightly acidic pH of 6.0 to 6.5. Colocasia, because of their bigger size, tends to need soil with more nutrients and high organic matter that also holds moisture and good water drainage. Unlike caladium, colocasia tolerates a broader range of soil, ranging from 5.5 to 7.0.
Caladium vs Colocasia: Which One Can Be Grown as an Indoor Houseplant?
For indoor gardeners, you shall not worry! Both caladium and colocasia are flawless to be grown indoors, however, they require different sizes of pots or containers. Caladium will do okay with medium-sized pots, but colocasia will need bigger containers as they grow. It’s worth noting that not all colocasia species can be brought indoors, especially the gigantic Colocasia gigantea. When grown indoors, it’s also highly recommended to take precautions since caladium and colocasia are both poisonous. We’ll discuss the toxicity level in the next section.
Caladium vs Colocasia: Which One Is More Poisonous?
Despite their beauty and attractiveness, all aroids are poisonous. In terms of toxicity between caladium vs colocasia, the gigantic colocasia is just slightly more poisonous than caladium, but both plants contain calcium oxalate crystals that can be fatal if eaten raw in large quantities. Symptoms that may occur include a burning sensation, skin rash, vomiting, nausea, and swelling lips. Although poisonous, colocasia is safe to eat when properly cooked.
Colocasia vs Caladium In A Nutshell
To wrap things up, colocasia and caladium are just two aroids that are not only worth thriving for their ease of maintenance, but also for their visuals. Go with caladium if you need to incorporate more colors into your nursery, but pick colocasia instead if you’d like to create more texture and size contrast in your landscape. Apart from their similar growing requirements, the differences you’ll find in caladium vs colocasia are located in their mature size, color, and pattern.
New author in the hood. Loves gardening and flowers are my spirit animals (yes I know they are not animals but I insist). I will be covering most of the flowers’ topics here and occasionally random though as well.